Paul Driver's youth win their first home match of the season
The Youth Team welcomed their MK Dons counterparts to Ely Way on Saturday morning for their first home game of the EFL Youth Alliance, and came from behind to register a second win and remain top of the league on goal difference.
The MK Dons came into the game buoyed by the fact that a number of their squad had been involved in the club's EFL Cup win away at Newport in the week and The Hatters knew they would be in for a competitive fixture.
With an Under 21s game on Tuesday against AFC Wimbledon, Tyreeq Bakinson, Akin Famewo and Freddie Hinds were not included from the team that had won handsomely at Dagenham last week so first year scholars Ciaren Jones and Kitan Sorunke plus Under 16s striker Josh Neufville took their places in the start line up.
The Hatter had a early chance to take the lead when Neufville was fouled in the box but Jack Snelus' penalty was saved by the visiting keeper, Nathan Pickworth who was to be kept busy throughout the game and his saves from Geo Craig and Snelus, again, kept the score at 0-0.
At the midway point of the first half, it was the MK Dons who went ahead with a neat finish from 8 yards after they had stolen possession in midfield.
Undeterred, The Hatters continued to push forward and struck back eight minutes later when Ciaren Jones rose well in the box to head home Kavan Cotter's corner.
Further excellent chances came before the break with Cotter heavily involved. His shots from 15 and 20 yards were well saved by Pickworth and a further block from the stopper came out to Snelus and his shot bounced off the bar and over.
Half Time: Luton Town Youth 1 MK Dons Youth 1
The Hatters continued to create chances after the restart and Pickworth saved well from Craig twice and saw a Snelus header strike the upright and out to safety. A Neufville chance also rebounded down off of the cross bar before being cleared and it looked like the goal was destined not to come for the hosts.
Kitan Sorunke saw a 30 yard strike also saved by Pickworth before the decisive goal came for The Hatters. A Cameron McJannet cross found Connor Tomlinson (on for Geo Craig) on the edge of the box and he linked with Cotter the midfield man who cut inside and wrong footed Pickworth with a left footed effort from the edge of the box in the 81st minute.
The Hatters controlled the game for the remaining minutes to record a pleasing victory against a good MK side.
Youth Team Coach, Paul Driver spoke to lutontown.co.uk afterwards and was very upbeat about the performance.
"With quite a few of the older lads not included today, to perform as well as we did in general and to get the win was very encouraging. The older boys in there - Kavan Cotter and Jack Snelus especially - set the tone for the rest and the younger ones showed that they have a good understanding of how we want them to play.
I was especially pleased with Josh Neufville who led the line well with Geo (Craig), held the ball up, linked play, won a penalty and was unlucky not to score with the shot against the bar.
We need to stretch and test all of our young players - whether that's Tyreeq and Akin with the first team and in tough 21s games or schoolboys like Josh (Neufville) and Connor Tomlinson in Youth Team games like today - and it's then an additional bonus if they can remain competitive in the league and learn the winning side of the game".
Full Time: Luton Town Youth 2 MK Dons Youth 1
Luton Town Team: Gordon-Stearn, James (Mead 60), McJannet, Sorunke, Jones, Bean (c), Cotter, Craig (Tomlinson 71), Neufville, Snelus, Read. Sub Not Used. Byron.